Ryan Reynolds says he hired actress from viral Peloton ad because backlash can be 'alienating'

Raechal Shewfelt
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Ryan Reynolds hired an actress following backlash over her viral Peloton ad. (Photo: Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

Ryan Reynolds gets it.

The actor, who’s appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies since 1991, understands the pain of being part of a flop — remember Green Lantern? And after he saw what was happening with that viral Peloton ad, within hours he’d hired the actress in it, Monica Ruiz, to do a funny response to the backlash in a commercial for his own Aviation American Gin.

“As an actor, I can certainly relate to creating a piece of content or being part of something that’s not well-received, and how alienating that can feel,” Reynolds told the New York Times over the weekend. “We had immense respect for any reservations she might have had. We don’t want to make the situation any worse for her.”

The ad for the Peloton exercise bike, released Nov. 21, was deemed sexist because it depicts a man giving it to the woman in his life, played by Ruiz, as a gift. The Aviation response, which Reynolds released Friday, shows the same woman hanging out in a bar with friends after apparently ditching the guy who doesn’t think she’s toned enough. One of her friends tells her, “You look great, by the way.”

Reynolds’s casting move was also good for business, because it gained a lot of free publicity.

“Ads are generally disposable pieces of content,” the Deadpool star told the newspaper. “If you’re going to do something like this, you have to jump on the zeitgeist-y moment as it happens.”

For her part, Ruiz issued a statement over the weekend.

“Although I’m an actress, I am not quite comfortable being in spotlight and I’m terrible on social media,” she said. “So to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by the attention this week (especially the negative) is an understatement.”

She said Reynolds and his production team helped her to “find some humor in the situation,” and she thanked him and Peloton for the work.

The fitness company said it was “disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial.”

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